Saturday, January 7, 2017

Is Repentance Possible During the Great Tribulation?

Someone has asked me whether it is possible to repent during the Great Tribulation or whether it will be too late to do so. One reason for this question was the part of Angelica Zambrano's Testimony of her Rapture Revelation that I wrote about in my article, in which she stated:

"After the Rapture, I observed enormous traffic with thousands of people.  He told me, 'Daughter, look, this is how everything will happen.' I then saw people running from one place to another, shouting, 'Christ came, Christ came!'  They would plead, 'Lord, forgive me, forgive me, take me with You!'"

"But sadly the Lord said, 'It will be too late. The time to repent is now...Daughter, go tell humanity to seek Me, for during that time there will no longer be opportunity. (Isaiah 55:6)  Daughter, it will be too late for all those that stay behind.' When Jesus observed how people were left behind, He began to weep and said, 'Daughter, I will go to Earth as it says in 1 Thes.  4: 16-17 : “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”'"

Angelica continued, "But not everyone will go with the Lord, only those who are doing His will (Matthew 7:21) and living a holy life.  For the Lord told me, 'Only those that are holy will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, (Hebrews 12:14), No one knows, neither the day nor the hour in which I will go for My holy people, not even the angels know it.'" (Matthew 24:36)

The Lord told Angelica that people will try to seek the Lord and repent after the rapture, asking Him to take them up, too. But it will be too late. He quoted the passage in Isaiah that says, "Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near." (Isa 55:6). This means there is a time when the Lord may be found, which is now, and that is the time to seek Him. It also means there is a time when the Lord cannot be found and it is too late to seek Him. He mentioned this specifically in reference to the period of Great Tribulation after the rapture. That is a very solemn warning and is not to be taken lightly! It is the same warning given by the Lord in His parable of the Ten Virgins. He said:

"Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour." (Mat 25:1-13)

The return of the Bridegroom is the return of Christ. The wise virgins were ready when the Bridegroom came, because they took oil in flasks with their lamps. In order to do so, they had to go out and buy it first. They are the wise servants of Christ who seek the Lord now while He may be found, in order to buy oil from Him, which indicates being prepared in advance. The foolish virgins were not ready when the Bridegroom came, because they did not make preparations by bringing extra oil with them. They are the believers who at one time were ready but are no longer filled with the Spirit, because they have not been seeking the Lord. They will come seeking Him when He returns, saying, "Lord, lord, open up for us. Take us up in the rapture, too." But it will be too late for them. There will be no opportunity. The door will be shut, and the Lord will answer, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you." That is why we must be on the alert for the Lord's return, since we do not know the day or the hour.

On the one hand, it is my understanding from Scripture that it would be theoretically possible to repent during the Great Tribulation. There will likely be people who will come to know Christ during the Great Tribulation and will need to repent in order to do so. As for those who have once known Christ and miss the rapture, it seems to me that missing the rapture is not necessarily the unforgivable sin, and it would seem they should be able to repent while they still have breath. However, they will not be able to go up in the rapture after they have missed it. At that point it will be too late, and they will have to go through the Great Tribulation. They will have to bear their disgrace and the consequences for their detestable practices.

On the other hand, there are also Scriptures that teach that a person can reach a point where they are unable to repent, so we should not rule out this possibility for those who come to know Christ before the Great Tribulation and miss the rapture, because they have fallen away, insulted the Spirit of grace, trampled underfoot the Son of God, and regarded as unclean the blood of Christ that once sanctified them. The apostle wrote:

“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” (Heb 6:4-6)

“How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  (Heb 10:29-31)

In his excellent book, Voices from the Edge of Eternity, Dr. John Meyers documented the deathbed experiences of many people, including devout Christians, reprobates, and atheists. While it is not unusual for devout Christians like D.L. Moody to have glorious experiences at their moment of death, there are numerous accounts of ungodly people who had horrifying experiences. Some of them knew that they should repent and accept Christ, and in some cases they were admonished to do so by a believer, but it was impossible for them to repent. Instead they had only a certain terrifying expectation of judgment and a raging fire that will consume God's enemies (Heb 10:27). During their lifetime they had hated the Light and loved darkness. They had spurned the repeated convictions of the Holy Spirit, and on their deathbed they knew that He had departed from them forever, leaving them alone to die in their sin.

As the Lord Jesus said, "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."  (Joh 3:19-21)

You see, when those who have known Christ miss the rapture, it indicates they loved darkness rather than Light. Their deeds are evil, which indicates they hate the Light in spite of what they may say with their lips. Such a person does not come into the Light for fear of exposure. That would explain why there would be little or no repentance happening during the Great Tribulation. The Scriptures bear this out:

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.” (Rev 9:20-21)

In spite of all the plagues God sends during the time of His wrath on the earth, it says that those who are not killed by the plagues still will not repent. This is similar to what God said would happen when He punished Israel for their sin. He said to Ezekiel:

"'Or if I should send a plague against that country and pour out My wrath in blood on it to cut off man and beast from it, even though Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, as I live,' declares the Lord GOD, 'they could not deliver either their son or their daughter. They would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.' For thus says the Lord GOD, 'How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to cut off man and beast from it! Yet, behold, survivors will be left in it who will be brought out, both sons and daughters. Behold, they are going to come forth to you and you will see their conduct and actions; then you will be comforted for the calamity which I have brought against Jerusalem for everything which I have brought upon it. Then they will comfort you when you see their conduct and actions, for you will know that I have not done in vain whatever I did to it,' declares the Lord GOD." (Eze 14:19-23)

This passage in Ezekiel indicates that when God sends his wrath to punish His people and cut off the wicked and ungodly ones, there is nothing you can do to stop it. Judgment is inescapable! Nevertheless, survivors will be left who will be brought out. These are the ones who sincerely repent, the fruit of which is then observed in their conduct and actions. This tells me that God always has a remnant who seek Him. But that means there will be very few survivors, because a remnant is a small portion of the whole.

The way I see it is like this. If a person who has once been enlightened and has tasted of the heavenly gift and has been made partaker of the Holy Spirit, and has tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then has fallen away, that indicates their spiritual condition is too weak to endure when times are relatively peaceful compared to what the Great Tribulation will be like. Therefore, once such a person enters the Great Tribulation when the wrath of God is coming down and the beast is forcing everyone to take his mark, how will such spiritually dead people survive? As the Scripture says:

"If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, Then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?" (Jer 12:5)

It would seem to me that most, if not all such people, would be too weak to resist the mark of the beast and stand for Christ in the midst of intense persecution, suffering, wrath, and judgment. Most will be too weak to resist the temptation to worship the beast or his image. They are not strong enough to give their lives for Christ as martyrs. Such people typically take the easy way out like most people do. They take the wide road that leads to destruction. As Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mat 7:13-14).

Those who refuse the mark of the beast will not be able to buy or sell without it and they will be beheaded for their testimony, which will make it very difficult for anyone to resist the temptation to take the mark, especially if they are already spiritually weak or dead. Everyone will be in survival mode. That is why patience and endurance will be required on the part of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Scripture says:

"Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.' Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." (Rev 14:9-12).

This clearly says that anyone who worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, will be tormented with fire and brimstone forever and ever. However, Scripture teaches us that there will be saints who refuse the mark and who maintain their testimony for Christ in the midst of that terrible period of tribulation.

“Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (Rev 20:4)

We know that some people will come to know Christ during the Great Tribulation, so this passage could be referring to those people. I am not saying that it is impossible to repent during the Great Tribulation, but I am saying there are many Scriptures that certainly suggest it may be impossible to do so, or that very few will do so. While we can sit and theorize about it and rationalize, based on our limited knowledge and understanding, in order to postulate whether repentance is possible for Christians who miss the rapture, I think the best approach is to repent now and live holy, godly lives in Christ, as we wait for the Lord Jesus to come from heaven and rescue us from the coming wrath (1 Thes 1:10). As Peter said,

“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!” (2Pe 3:11-12)

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2Pe 3:17-18)

If it turns out that it is impossible or nearly impossible to repent during the Great Tribulation, you should not find out the hard way by ending up there yourself. Why risk losing your soul? Don't be like the foolish virgins. Now is the day of salvation! The apostle Paul said:

“And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain-- for He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation.’” (2Co 6:1-2)

Now is the time to seek the Lord, asking Him to do whatever it takes to make sure you are ready for the rapture. Ask Him to grant you the glorious  Baptism with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Fire Baptism, both of which you need in order to be ready. For you will receive power from on high when the Holy Spirit comes on you (Ac 1:8).

I close with the words the Lord said to Angelica: "It will be too late. The time to repent is now...Daughter, go tell humanity to seek Me, for during that time there will no longer be opportunity. (Isaiah 55:6)  Daughter, it will be too late for all those that stay behind."

Author's note: You must take responsibility for your own actions. Nobody knows the day or the hour, and in no way am I date setting. This is only to provide you with information, so that you can make your own decisions, for which you will be accountable to God.

I also encourage you to read Rapture Revelation to Angelica Zambrano, The Mark of the Beast (666), Sequence of Signs Preceding the Coming of Christ, The Rise of Antichrists, Peace, Safety, and the Thief in the Night, The Timing of the Rapture, Waiting for the Lord's Return, The Glory of Martyrdom for Christ, Seeking the Lord, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Baptized with the Spirit, Holy Fire Baptism, Costly Grace, Repentance That Leads to Life, and The Persecution of the Saints, as well as The Messiah Is Coming.  You may also visit our Signs of the Times Directory, and access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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